Bloggers are skeptical of an “early earth creationist” earning his doctorate in paleontology. They also applaud the de-doctoring of a British celebrity nutritionist, and simply rejoice in stem cell-augmented breasts from Japan.
Weird science: Perhaps in honor of Darwin Day, the New York Times ran an article Monday about Marcus R. Ross, a paleontologist who, as an evangelical Christian, believes the earth is only 10,000 years old. His recently submitted dissertation—studying marine animals that disappeared 65 million years ago—is reputedly sound science, though many wonder to what end he’ll put his credentials.
Joe Meert at Science, AntiScience and Geology has does his homework on Ross and is equally disturbed by the young scientist’s penchant for having it both ways: “[M]ost professionals will not place their name on a paper where the conclusions are so antithetical to their own viewpoint. To write a paper where millions of years of evolution are used when that position is complete anathema to your scientific viewpoint smacks of opportunism … [Ross] has several abstracts in the literature on YEC’ism and Intelligent Design. He co-authored a paper with Discovery’s Paul Nelson on the problems with the Cambrian Explosion, but which hides behind evolutionary verbiage.”
Computer programmer Larry Hamelin at The Barefoot Bum writes: “A Ph.D. in the sciences does not and should not confer any sort of epistemic authority on the holder. Even the most eminent and ideologically ‘sound’ scientist must always show her data and always explain her work thoroughly enough to make it subject to the rigorous scrutiny of her peers. … In Ross’s case, I strongly suspect he will never actually use this ticket, preferring instead to use his credential in an unjustified manner to his credulous audience.”
Freelance journalist Steven Hart at The Opinion Mill raises some common questions and concerns: “If Ross did the work then Ross deserves the degree, no doubt about that. But can there also be any doubt that his doctorate is simply another step in the creationist drive to robe anti-intellectual dogma in the garments of scholarship? Will any student Ross mentors be able to evade the suspicion that he is simply another Trojan horse built to smuggle religious frauds into respectable science?”
Larry Moran, a University of Toronto biochemistry professor, doesn’t mince words on his blog Sandwalk: “Marcus Ross thinks it’s okay to write a thesis about 65 million year old reptiles when, in fact, he doesn’t believe a word of it. He justifies this by referring to ‘different paradigms.’ Apparently, there’s one kind of ‘paradigm’ when you are trying to get your Professors to give you a Ph.D. and another kind of ‘paradigm’ at all other times. This is just a euphemism for ‘lying.’ In this case, it’s lying for Jesus.”
Read more about Marcus Ross.
Awful Poo Lady: A British nutrition celebrity has agreed to quit using the title Dr. after she was reported to the Advertising Standards Authority. Ben Goldacre, in much-discussed Guardian takedown of Gillian McKeith, says good on the ASA since McKeith is at best a cynical peddler of junk science, at worst someone who couldn’t pass a fourth-grade biology exam.
At gia’s blog, Channel 4 presenter Gia Millinovich is glad: “[O]f course, the fact that she rejoices in studying people’s poo has meant many column inches in the papers which translates into more viewers and higher advertising revenue. If they’re making money, why should Channel 4 give a shit about the crap coming out of her mouth? … so to speak.”
The anonymous British blogger at The Velvet Empire has got absolutely no time for the shambolic telenutritionist: “It was September 2004 when I was first alerted to Gillian’s false credentials. I spent a month working on the launch of Reveal magazine, for which ‘Dr’ Gillian was then employed as their resident health columnist. And one of my colleagues … couldn’t help but express his fury at the fact she had bought her credentials from an American website. So much so that every time her name was mentioned, you could almost see him frothing at the mouth.”
Read more about McKeith.
Stem-cell breasts: Japanese scientists say that an organic cocktail made of stem cells and body fat can enhance bust size. Goodbye, silicon and salt-water implants.
Jonathan, a “neo-libertarian” at Crush Liberalism, can’t find it in his heart to forgive the Bush administration on this one: “We’d have the bigger racks a heckuva lot sooner if not for Bush’s puritanical views on stem cell research funding! Thanks, Dubya, for preventing the taxpayers from subsidizing my honey’s larger, more natural boobs!”
Now it’ll move more naturally at e pur si muove, a mostly science-themed blog, where Elia Diodati observes: “Interestingly, doctors in Japan have been pretty active in researching how to use stem-cell therapy for various cosmetic procedures. Doctor Kotaro Yoshimura has done plenty of work on harvesting adult stem cells derived from adipose tissue (i.e. body fat) for use in hair follicle replacement therapy. … While we’re on the topic, why limit ourselves to female customers? Think of the penis enlargement potentialities. … Soon we might have to add ‘stem cells’ to our spam filters … “
Read more about stem-cell breasts.